Special Education Today Newsletter 1(22)

The week’s news and info for 15 November 2021

Dear colleagues and friends,

Here is current edition of the newsletter for Special Education Today. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably expect this 22nd weekly issue of the first volume-year of SET newsletters to have predictable content. It does.

You’re getting it because you subscribed or someone forwarded it to you. If you are getting a forwarded copy, please add your email database; its free; just click the button at the end of this paragraph. (If you’ve had enough, you will find an “unsubscribe link” at the end.)

Also, please use the “share” button at the end of this newsletter to tell friends and colleagues about the community. I usually embed a share button in individual posts, so readers can help disseminate specific content, too.

As some of you know, I’ve sporadically tweeted about the site on Twitter. If you’re following me or SET in that medium, please watch for tweets and throw a reTweet (glowing comments optional but appreciated) or a like. You can find me at @JohnWillsLloyd and SET at @SpecialEdToday.

Read on to see a status report, a table of contents, and a bit of commentary. The organization should sound familiar to most regular readers!

Status update

The number of e-mail subscribers continues to increase, though it’s a bit like inch-worm progress again. In July when I posted about the US Department of Health and Human Services investigating inappropriate billing by some autism services providers and September when I posted about detente in the disagreements about early reading instruction, we grew by 20 or 30 new subscriptions in a day. Currently, we are growing by about five per week, net (there was one unsub for the week).

Whatever growth there is, it’s thanks to you, dear readers, sharing your readings of SET. Thanks and, whether it’s by clicking the share buttons, forwarding the newsletters, and cutting and pasting URLs into messages to others, please keep doing so.

I’ve not used self-aggrandizing techniques to publicize SET. To be sure, I have dropped five-six-seven Tweets on Twitter. Although some of you do (thanks!), I never say anything on Facebook (not a subscriber). I hope that the content I’m publishing is attractive enough that folks will want to subscribe, but they have to learn about it from someone! (BTW, if someone is deeply into reddit, please contact me directly to discuss that venue. What, for example, do you think of r/specialed?)

With regard to visitors: Other than the usual weekly rise and fall in page views, there was a substantial spike in new Web site visitors this past week. On the same day (and a couple of days after that) when I posted the note about Sharon Vaughn delivering an international talk about reading (see ToC), ~1700 new visitors came to the site. I’m glad we could help publicize Sharon’s fine talk.

Anyway, please keep clicking on those share buttons. Not each share will increase the base of addresses, but I appreciate your help.

Shout outs!

I also appreciate that this past week some subscribers interacted with the content, either liking posts or commenting on them (or both). Thanks to everyone who did so, including:

  • Clay K.

  • Jane B.

  • Michael K.

  • Jennifer S.

  • Lysandra C.

  • And all those whom I missed.

Special thanks to Tina C. for using the sharing button!

Thanks, too, for tweets, retweets, and likes on Twitter. I am sure there was some activity there this week, but I didn’t catalog it. Sigh. Probably I missed tweets from followers or others who liked or retweeted content, as Michael K. and Tina C. often do. I appreciate y’all spreading the word!

And This Week’s Table of ContentsoC

Well, I posted only three new notes on SET since the last newsletter. I hope that they are helpful. Here’s a listing:

  1. DISES recommendations to promote recovery internationally—What can educators do to promote lost learning?

  2. Illinois CEC is celebrating CEC’s centenary—What can we learn from thinking about 100 years of efforts to promote education of students with disabilities?

  3. Vaughn talk about reading comprehension—Do you want to learn something about improving literacy?

Some readers may have missed the semi-regular feature about prominent special educators. Friday Photos was on vacation this week. It may miss another week every now and again, but it’ll be back!

Commentary

The recent Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in states that are members of the Commonwealth (the UK, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and many others) is an outgrowth of Armistice Day, a memorial day that began to be observed 102 years ago, soon after the end of World War I.

It’s informative, I think, to consider other events of that general time, including

  • The Great Influenza Epidemic that began in 1918 and continued into and through much of 1920, killing 10s of millions of people; members of military groups world wide were especially vulnerable to this flu, by the way.

  • The revolutions in many countries (e.g., Russia, Mexico) during that time, as well as major changes in government in countries including Austria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Finland, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, and many others.

  • The many great publications of the last few years in the 1910s and first few years in the 1920s that are, by now, familiar works: Albert Einstein, 1916: Relativity; T. S. Eliot, 1917: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock; Sigmund Freud, 1920: Beyond the Pleasure Principle; James Joyce, 1916: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; D. H. Lawrence, 1920: Women in Love; Sinclair Lewis, 1920: Main Street; Somerset Maugham, 1919: The Moon and Sixpence; Edith Wharton, 1920: The Age of Innocence; and many more.

What does all this have to do with special education, you might wonder? I think it illustrates that people about 100 years ago lived through some pretty difficult (maybe even horrific) times. War and pestilence, a couple of the weapons of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, were surely loose in the world—and it’s a pretty good bet that there was famine somewhere, too. But, people made it through those times, as indicated by the literary accomplishments (and we could do a similar number on science and technology).

This Veterans’ Day, the US was privileged to celebrate the holiday when there were no US service people engaged in a foreign armed conflict for the first time in decades, at least! Still, there are wars (or something close to War) elsewhere in the world, there is surely famine among some people of the world. And, we have pestilence in the form of SARS-Cov-19. I hope humans will come to a time (soon!) when there is peace, plenty to eat, and lots of good health.

Kids with disabilities are especially vulnerable in times like these, though. Some children have conditions that make them liable to suffer more seriously if they are infected with COVID. Others are more likely to live in houses where food stocks are slim (“food insecurity”). For others, it’s hard to tolerate wearing a mask or even to learn how to wear one.

It becomes even more important to protect kids with disabilities in times like these. The Illinois CEC commoration is consistent with that effort. To ensure that educators and parents can protect vulnerable kids, they need additional help, including personal, emotional, and financial support. The last thing they need is for members of our society (their neighbors and fellow citizens) to call them out as dawdling, wrong-headed, incompetent, or uncaring.

Let’s remember to celebrate the accomplishments of citizens who care for kids with disabilities! And not just on some arbitrary day such as the 15th of November, but routinely. They may not need medals and park statues, but they surely need to know that their efforts are appreciated.

Next!

OKAY, please review my familiar admonitions:

Please (a) Wear your seatbelts! (b) Get vaccinated (and boostered), but remember that solving this problem will require us to ventilate spaces where people congregate, keep safe social distances, wash our hands, and use masks, also. And, (c) teach your children well (including, for example, teaching them how maintain safe distance and insure that their masks cover both their noses and mouths).

JohnL
John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D.
SET Editor guy
Charlottesville

SET should not be confused with a product with the same name that is published by the Council for Exceptional Children. SET predated CEC’s publication by decades. Despite my appreciation for CEC, this product is not designed to promote that organization.

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